Officials in China's Sichuan province are buying the silence of parents who lost children in May's devastating earthquake, the New York Times reports. Grieving parents are being pressured to sign agreements accepting $9,000 in compensation if they stop asking questions about why so many schools collapsed. They are told they will get nothing if they refuse to sign.
Some 7,000 classrooms collapsed in the quake, often while buildings around them remained standing. Police have clamped down on angry parents calling for an investigation. "Most of the parents in our school have signed" the agreement, said a woman who lost her 8-year-old son. “We can’t do anything about it. We’re helpless.”